Fifa 2022 World Cup: Qatar is a bust, and we’re still four years away from the kick-off

  • Controversies and negative press continue to pile on the tiny Middle Eastern nation
  • Would Fifa consider stripping Qatar of the tournament, or are they too deep in to turn back?
PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 December, 2018, 8:03am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 December, 2018, 8:46pm

Where to start with the Qatar 2022 World Cup?

Four years out, and the controversies continue to pile on. The latest: a recently unveiled stadium the internet is poking fun at.

The 40,000-seat venue in Al Wakrah is drawing comparisons to female anatomy, producing countless jokes on Twitter and the usual sexist puns.

The Qatar organisers would be so lucky if this was the worst news coming out of the build up to the next Fifa World Cup.

Turns out the poorly shaped stadium is the least of Qatar’s worries, and with the legitimate problems only festering, one wonders, will this thing actually take place, or will Fifa pull the plug?

Let’s recap: first off, an investigation after a British man fell to his death at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha found that as many as 4,000 workers building the venues for the tournament could perish by 2022 (more than 1,200 have died already).

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Compounding this are allegations of horrible working conditions and slavery. Qatar already has a dismal human rights record: rampant abuse and exploitation of low-paid migrants, who number in the tens of thousands and hail predominately from India and Nepal. In fact, foreign workers make up 88 per cent of Qatar’s 2.7 million people.

If it sounds like a feudal Middle Ages kingdom where a select few rule over the peasants in terror, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who disagrees with you.

Absolutely an ideal host to promote the world of sport and its ability to bring nations and people together, right?

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The country is a blatant mismatch to showcase society’s progressive nature. Sharia Law rules the country with an iron fist, and citizens have little in terms of cultural freedoms.

Homosexuality is illegal, women are barely treated as human when it comes to court testimony, and archaic laws like apostasy (which is punishable by death) and blasphemy (up to seven years in prison) are still enforced.

Marital rape is not defined as a crime, and extramarital sex is subject to corporal punishment. Oh, and drinking is illegal, but apparently alcohol consumption will be permitted within the venues.

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And then there’s the Garcia Report, in which former US attorney Michael J. Garcia was tasked with investigating allegations of corruption in handing Qatar the bid.

Garcia was appointed in 2012 to investigate Fifa, and after a two-year investigation he submitted his report, which Fifa promptly refused to publish and instead release a summary clearing them of any wrongdoing.

Garcia resigned, obviously, and the full report leaked, detailing the obvious: rampant corruption when it came to the bidding process, not just by Qatar, but pretty much every bid for the 2018 tournament (which went to Russia) and the 2022 bid.

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This is just the start, and when it comes to the actual tournament, there’s another handful of serious issues organisers and Fifa have tried to whitewash. Qatar is so hot during the summer (it can regularly hit 50 degrees Celsius), the tournament dates had to be changed from it’s usual June-July staging to November 21 through December 18.

Not only does this condense the tournament by four days, which is not good for the players and could increase injuries due to less time to recover between games, it also clashes with the European football league schedule.

There are rumblings Qatar may be in talks with nations such as Saudi Arabia to host a few matches to lighten the load after Fifa president Gianni Infantino suggested the nation consider the idea. Sadly Saudi Arabia isn’t fairing much better when it comes to international news headlines. Swapping out one controversial kingdom for another is like doubling down on poor ideas.

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There’s also the general logistical challenge of a tiny nation like Qatar hosting hundreds of thousands of fans, security in the Middle East is an issue, and the fact that it still gets up to 30 degrees Celsius in Qatar’s winter months. If this doesn’t sound like a failure, I don’t know what is.

Would Fifa ever strip Qatar of the tournament? It’s probably too late now, but there have been numerous calls from various governments and organisations to pull the plug and send the tournament somewhere less disastrous.

With four years to go, Qatar 2022 looks like a bust, and even some substantial on-field magic by the world’s best players probably can’t save this car wreck of a tournament.